Must-Visit Small Towns for the Thanksgiving Holiday from Must-Visit Small Towns This Thanksgiving Holiday

Must-Visit Small Towns This Thanksgiving Holiday

Must-Visit Small Towns for the Thanksgiving Holiday

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Make the most of the holidays and don’t flock to tourist traps like New York or Los Angeles. Think outside the box. Go small this Thanksgiving holiday and enjoy the endless perks such places offer. And remember that, in the end, any way you choose to spend the holiday is the right way as long as you’re with the people you love and are having fun.

Plymouth, Massachusetts

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Go back to the beginning and party like a pilgrim in America’s Hometown. The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians held a feast at Plymouth Colony in 1621 that is widely considered the first Thanksgiving. Learn how early colonists lived when visiting Plimoth Plantation, and explore the Mayflower II and the Wampanoag Homesite. Events continue on Saturday and Sunday and include a food festival, crafter's village, live entertainment, an outdoor living history village, farmers market, and a drum corps concert.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

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The No. 1 destination on the rise in the U.S. is Gatlinburg, according to TripAdvisor. People describe it as beautiful, clean, and very peaceful. Gatlinburg offers access to the Great Smoky Mountains and lots of good places to have an old-fashioned family feast.  Don’t miss the Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show scheduled for Nov. 21-26. It’s the ideal place for unique holiday gifts. Ober Gatlinburg is the prime attraction to visit. Enjoy striking views of the town and the surrounding Smoky Mountains.

Key West, Florida

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Depending where you live you may want to avoid the travel nightmare and cold weather around Thanksgiving and spend the holiday in the tropical paradise of Key West. Now is the time to go because of the moderate and pleasant weather as well as fewer crowds than Christmastime. Remember summer and go swimming, snorkeling, parasailing, and sailing. Take the family to the the Key West Aquarium, and have dinner on a boat at sunset. Take a free walking tour; visit the botanical gardens and the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. This is a pet-friendly vacation destination, so you don’t have to leave your pooch behind. 

Park City, Utah

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Take advantage of the lowest rates of the season. Many hotels and other lodgings offer a third night for free. Most people who choose to spend the holidays in Park city do so because of the early season skiing.  With early snow and snow guns blazing, November is a great time to plan an affordable ski vacation. The base area at Park City Resort is scheduled to open on November 17, just in time for Thanksgiving. Take the family to see a show at the popular Egyptian Theatre. This year they are hosting Guys and Dolls from November 17-25. It is considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy.

Grapevine, Texas

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Go to the “Christmas Capital of Texas” for a fun celebration of Thanksgiving, which is when the Christmas season starts here. There are more than 1,400 Christmas events in 40-plus days. The city sparkles with millions of lights, enormous decorations, and animated characters. The famous Light Show Spectacular is during Thanksgiving weekend. This is also when North Pole Express comes to town.

Lake Placid, New York

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There is always something going on in town, no matter what time of the year you visit. The annual Thanksgiving Day celebrations held in Lake Placid don’t disappoint. Enjoy fishing and camping throughout the holiday weekend. Hike or bike Whiteface – or any of the other 46 peaks. Visiting the Olympic village is a must. Go on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad tour round trip from Lake Placid; it lasts about an hour. Witness some spectacular natural views of the landscapes and wildlife.

Lewisburg, West Virginia

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The cultural life in the city is getting richer. Galleries are opening and music events are being scheduled quite often – all of that on the edge of the Monongahela National Forest. Locals’ favorite activities are mountain biking – but go to the Greenbrier State Forest which has an easier terrain than the Monongahela – and fly fishing on the Greenbrier River. Tourists should start their visit on the first Friday of each month when shops and galleries open with wine tastings.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

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If Thanksgiving is all about food to you, then visit Santa Fe. It ranked in the Top 5 of the best foodie towns in the country in 2017. The city is known for chefs who create innovative Southwestern fare and is home to a number of award-winning restaurants. You and your family can combine food with adventure and go skiing. Located a few miles from the city center, the Sangre de Cristo Mountain is one of the highest ski areas in the continental U.S. Ski Santa Fe, which opens November 13, has a base elevation of 10,350 feet and is located only 16 miles from the heart of the city.

Bryson City, North Carolina

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The charming small town is very close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which means you have access to everything that one of the most visited parks in the country has to offer. Stay at in a log cabin as a mountaintop hideout and relax in a hot tub on the deck. Take the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad for an amazing trip through spectacular old-growth forests and meadows.

Boulder, Colorado

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Boulder is the happiest city in America, according to the National Geographic Gallup Special Index. It is best explored on two wheels, with over more than 300 miles of dedicated bikeways. Who wouldn’t be happy there? With more than 45,000 acres of preserved nature, some of the best climbing in the country and hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails, everyone has something to do. The nearly constant sunshine doesn't hurt either.

Killington, Vermont

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Do something different and see the Audi FIS Women's Ski World Cup on November 25 and 26 live. The ski resort, the nickname of which is “the Beast of the East,” is the largest one on the East Coast. It also opens early – November 11. The resort is home to the largest vertical drop in New England – 3,050 feet and includes six mountains with a total of 155 downhill trees. Skiing at Killington lets you see majestic views of five neighboring states, mountains and Canada.

Ogunquit, Maine

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This is a popular beach getaway in Maine which means that the Thanksgiving holiday season is quite affordable here. It’s all about slowing down. Not only are the process lower but the crowds are smaller. Now is the time for bonfires on the beach, unique shopping at antique stores, and desserts tastings. You can’t watch football without trying some locally made Maine beer at Cornerstone in Ogunquit. Go in middle of December for the popular Christmas by the Sea Festival.

Reno, Nevada

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Nicknamed “The Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno is famous for its casinos and its proximity to many ski resorts. One of them is the Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, which opens October 27. At 8,260 feet in elevation, Mt. Rose is highest base area in the region. Be adventurous this holiday and hike above 9,000 feet. With a grand-total 1,200 acres and 1,800-foot vertical drop, the resort rivals popular nearby mountains for a fraction of the cost and foot traffic.

Greenville, South Carolina

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Go now before more people learn about it. Make the most of the chance to visit world-class collection of museums and theaters. If you want a more active vacation, Greenville will accommodate you as well. The city is snuggled into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are a lot of lakes, rivers and mountain hills to explore while biking, hiking, trail running, and leaf peeping.

Safari West, California

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Go on an exciting safari this holiday and make the experience all about excitement with the family rather than food and overeating.  You don’t have to look farther than California. Safari West is a wildlife preserve, known as the “Sonoma Serengeti.” Dine amongst the giraffes and playful lemurs, delight at our swift and sleek cheetahs, you may even run into a few anxious-looking wild guinea fowl. You can also stay overnight – glamping – and sleep in luxury tents imported from Africa and built on high wooden platforms.